MANILA — The National Food Authority (NFA) on Monday reported that rice prices have declined steadily since the last quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of this year, making rice more affordable for consumers.
Citing data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay said well-milled rice wholesale prices went down by PHP1.74 per kilo in early 2015, from PHP40.57 per kilo in October 2014 to PHP38.83 in February this year.
“The lowest commercial rice price in the last quarter of last year registered at PHPp40 per kilo. In my recent personal market inspection in Dinalupihan, Bataan the lowest commercial rice price I noticed was PHP31 per kilo,” Dalisay said.
The NFA official said he visited markets in the municipalities of Dinalupihan in Bataan, Olongapo City, Castillejos, San Marcelino, San Narciso, and Iba in Zambales.
During his inspection, Dalisay said he observed that regular milled commercial rice was sold as low as PHP31 per kilogram in Bataan while the well-milled variety was priced at an average of PHP40 per kilogram.
The NFA currently sells government rice at PHP27/kg for regular milled and PHP32/kg for well-milled rice.
Dalisay attributed the downward behavior of rice prices to the NFA’s increased and more efficient market participation.
For the last two months of 2014, the NFA surpassed its distribution target by 101,902 metric tons (MT) or 81 percent, from 126,279 MT to 228,181 MT compared to the same period in 2013.
The NFA distributes its rice through accredited retailers. It has also tapped parishes and selected local government units as distribution conduits, particularly during calamities.
Dalisay said another reason for the decline in retail prices in rice is the settling down of farm prices.
“We have noted of speculative palay buying by private traders last year, which drove farm prices up and naturally impacted on retail prices,” he said.
The NFA chief also said that because there was adequate rice supply, traders tended to stop speculative palay pricing.
“The NFA now is able to buy palay at its support price of PHP17 per kilo because farm prices have settled down. While we are happy our farmers are making some money because of increased palay prices, we also need to cushion the impact on our consumers,” he said.